There was a dark time, long, long ago (six years or so), when Android was still a platform in its nascent stage, and to really unlock its best features, you had to root your device, but no more. One of the many things you can do now without rooting is connect your PS4 controller to your Android phone or tablet via Bluetooth. We’ll show you how to do it in this article, as well as address a teething lag problem some users have reported when using the PS4 controller with Android.
Connect a PS4 Controller to Your Phone
The actual process of connecting your PS4 controller to your device couldn’t be simpler: just do exactly what you’d do with any other Bluetooth device you want to connect. First, switch on Bluetooth on your device, then go to the Bluetooth menu (in the Quick Menu or the Settings menu -> Connected devices).
In the Connected Devices menu, tap ‘Pair new device’ for the phone to begin searching for Bluetooth devices.
Next, hold down the SHARE and PLAYSTATION buttons on your PS4 controller until the light bar on the controller starts flashing which indicates it’s searching for Bluetooth devices.
The PS4 controller should appear on the “Pair new device” screen as a “Wireless Controller.” Tap it to connect the PS4 controller to your Android device. You are now officially connected and can navigate your Android homescreens and (more importantly) play games using the controller.
Play Android Games Using Your PS4 Controller
This will work slightly differently, depending on which game you’re playing, but generally controller-compatible games should detect the PS4 controller and automatically map the right buttons to it. You should have the option to re-map the controls in each individual game if the default layout doesn’t suit you, and every emulator gives you the option to remap the controls, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
However, there is a problem with the PS4 controller on Android that you should be wary of, and that we can help you fix.
Fix PS4 Controller Lag on Android
Something that you may experience after connecting the PS4 controller to your Android device is some input lag which renders any games requiring quick reflexes unplayable. The solution to this is a little app called Bluetooth Auto Connect.
This app automatically connects Bluetooth devices you specify to your phone, and you can tweak it with various things like “Continuous connect,” which automatically connects your device every x seconds. First, download Bluetooth Auto Connect. (People have reported that the latest version doesn’t work as well as version 4.2.2, so best use that one.) Remember to allow unknown sources to download the APK.
Next, install the APK, and open Bluetooth Auto Connect. Then scroll down to “Advanced Options” (while your PS4 controller is connected), scroll to the very bottom, and tap “Connect Now.” This should zap your PS4 controller into working properly.
If you’re still experiencing problems, go to “Advanced Options” in Bluetooth Auto Connect, tap “Continuous Connect,” and set it to somewhere between two and fifteen seconds, which should help you avoid the dreaded lag problem. Experiment with different times to see which works best for you.
The PS4 controller to Android connection isn’t a perfect process yet, as you can see by our inclusion of a workaround, but it’s getting there, and if you’re prepared to make those small tweaks, you’ll be amazed at the effectiveness of your device as a gaming machine.
Now all you need to do is get one of those fancy clamps that attaches your controller to your phone, and you’re set. The one in the link even includes a cable so that you can connect the controller directly and not have to worry about Bluetooth latency, and this one from Nyko is supposedly pretty good. Happy gaming!